Staying Productive with the "Top 3" Method + a Weekly Printable
I can’t tell you exactly where I learned about the “top 3” method. But, I can tell you that once I did, it seemed like I heard it on just about every productivity or business podcast I listened to.
It’s a pretty popular way to organize your day and for good reason. You get what you NEED to get done… actually done and out of the way. What a concept.
So, like, how did I (and our team) go so long without using it or even knowing about it? To me it seems like something that should be taught in school… among other important things like how to do your taxes, how to write checks, how to invest, how to buy a house, how to be an adult (the basics). Have I ever needed to know how to find the square root of eight thousand seven hundred and fifty four? No. No I have not. Not the point though.
The point is, when I stick to my top 3 I am way more productive doing things that actually make a difference . And I want to make sure you guys are too. So let’s dig into how to plan your day this way.
What are your Top 3?
They’re exactly what it sounds like. The top 3 things that you MUST get done in your day. Sometimes, there are obvious items on the agenda that I have to get done. For example, if I have a deadline for a client, that goes on my top 3. But some days, it’s not exactly clear what needs to get done. And those are almost always the days that are wasted by hopping around from task to task that seem urgent. You start by answering “urgent'“ emails, filing away that stack of papers and then deciding to reorganize your entire filing system, fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole (or worse, the instagram black hole), etc. Yes, these tasks need to be done from time to time, but before you know it, you can spend your entire day doing them without ever touch something that is moving you forward. The phrase “moving you forward” has changed the way I plan my day, Ya, clearing my inbox is great, but did I really answer anything important that is going to grow my business? Probably not.
Start your day by thinking of the following:
Are there any urgent items that absolutely cannot wait?
What is one thing that will move me one step closer to accomplishing a goal?
What is something I have been dreading that will alleviate any stress I'm feeling?
This is usually how I pick my most important tasks for the day; my top 3!
As explained above, these are things that you have set a deadline for. These are non-negotiable tasks.
Goal related items:
If you don’t make time for these, then what are you really doing in your business? You don’t want to get stuck doing the same thing over and over. You should always be innovating and trying to move your business (or a personal goal) forward. For example, we are trying to launch a few new products right now. So ideally, each day I will have a task on my schedule that progresses that product in some way.
Those dreaded tasks:
You will probably spend more time procrastinating and putting something off than it will actually take you to just do it. It will clear your head to have it off your list and let you focus on other tasks.
And while it would be ideal to hit all of those marks above in one day, there are always days that might fill up with deadline related tasks, or even those dreaded tasks that you’ve put off. No one day will be perfectly balanced but when you can, I’d work to set goals for what you want to achieve in your Top 3 and make those a priority.
So what happens after your Top 3 priorities are done for the day? Do you get to go home? Uh, no… I mean, ya I guess you can sometimes, but usually this is when you would pick up those smaller tasks like clearing your inbox, updating your profile on instagram, brainstorming future blog posts, searching for inspo for a new project, etc. It’s all about what is important to you that day or week. Schedule those things in and fill in your calendar accordingly.
We created a printable so that you guys can plan your week now that we’ve (hopefully) given you the inspiration to get organized! Just like the daily Top 3 I talked about, we added a weekly version (for bigger to-do’s!) plus a tasks + errands section for those extra items you need to fit in your day. Fill in the top spaces with the date for the new week, and start planning!